Beauty Queen Loses Title for Gaining Weight

BY MEREDITH KELLY

Former Miss San Antonio, 17 year old Domonique Ramirez is suing the Baxter County pageant organization for taking away her crown.  At 5-foot-8 and 129 pounds, Ms. Ramirez claimed that she was told to “get off the tacos” shortly before being stripped of her Miss San Antonio title in January. Losing her title also mean losing the opportunity to compete in the Miss Texas and possible Miss America competitions.

The pageant president, Linda Woods, testified in court on March 16 that photos of Ms. Ramirez in a bikini were completely “unusable,” even with the help of photo-editing software. The organization claims, however, that Ms. Ramirez’s title was taken away for violating the terms of her contract. In addition to gaining too much weight, she was apparently unreliable, did not attend required pageant events or write thank-you notes and was photographed modeling wedding gowns at a local bridal show. The pictures of the seventeen year old in a wedding gown “send the wrong message” and made the organization question if she was married. Ms. Ramirez denied being secretly married and said she thinks the pageant is trying to “cover up for their mistake” by making these allegations.  

 Caroline Haggard Flores, executive pageant director, testified on March 22 that Ms. Ramirez’s interviews and negative media attention have “degraded the crown” and made it almost impossible to get scholarships from universities.

 Closing arguments are expected later this week.… <Read More>


To Investigate or Not?

It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask for either a court order, parental consent, warrant, probable cause or exigent circumstances in order to investigate a child abuse matter. However, there are two sides to every case and each usually has equally prevalent concerns. Considering the impact and emotional burden a child abuse investigation has on a child, leaves one to believe that the prerequisites are a strict necessity. But knowing the protracted speed of the criminal court system, and how that impacts the amount of time the possible abuse continues, would make a person reconsider whether it seems reasonable to require one of the prerequisites or not.

S.G. was a nine-year-old girl on February 24th, 2003, when she was seized and interrogated in school by government officials in order to be investigated for child abuse. S.G. was taken from her classroom by state caseworkers and investigative agents, one of which was armed, and questioned for two hours about her father’s possible abusive behavior. S.G. and her sister were put into foster care for two weeks while the investigation took place, and had to undergo investigation after investigation as well as medical examinations to determine if their was any abuse.

One of the issues from S.G’s case, currently before the Supreme court, is whether a child protective services worker meets the fourth amendment “search and seizure” burden requiring probable cause when interviewing a potential child abuse victim in school, or whether the a burden is lowered to one that of reasonable suspicion (see Jersey v.<Read More>


“Kids for Cash”

With all the problems plaguing juvenile justice, we really don’t need added corruption. Judge Mark Ciavarella from Pennsylvania was under suspicion for his “assembly line” service of juvenile offenders. Kids would be in and out of his courtroom in minutes and most of them were sentenced to detention facilities. Instead of state run facilities, the juveniles in his courtroom were sentenced to two particular private facilities. Under Ciavarella there was a 21% detention placement rate, up from the 4.5% detention placement rate with the prior judge.

This article outlines some of the offenses which landed kids in these detention centers:

A 10-year-old girl who accidentally set her bedroom on fire spent a month in a detention center.

A 13-year-old boy got 48 days for throwing a steak at his mother’s boyfriend during an argument. Ciavarella locked up another 13-year-old boy for failing to testify against a fellow student who brought a knife to a school dance.

A 15-year-old was sentenced to a boot camp for “an indefinite period” after she wrote a prank note that was deemed a “terroristic threat.”

A 16-year-old spent a month in a boot camp for creating a MySpace page that made fun of her high school’s assistant principal.

A 17-year-old boy charged with possessing drug paraphernalia, his first offense, served a total of five months.… <Read More>


Wasted Legal Action

It is well known that courts in New York City are under-efficient, under-staffed, and arguably over-utilized.  There are many frivolous and time-wasting cases that should (and could) probably be weeded out through mandatory mediation sessions before seeing a judge.  As one student in my colloquium course said last week, “Courts are the emergency rooms for society.”  Unfortunately, this not only holds truth, but provides an interesting insight to the City’s (and other states’) crowded courtroom circus.  Specifically, family courts are insanely overcrowded at times with ex-partners from broken marriages and relationships who just can’t get along.  All too often I see parties in court who are filing another petition to add to the growing pile involving a divorce, child custody, visitation, spousal support, modifications, etc.  But, this isn’t just a problem with the family courts.  All too often frivolous lawsuits and over-dramatic criminal charges are brought to court to be sorted out as well.… <Read More>


What effects would the implementation of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to overhaul the State’s juvenile justice system have on counties outside of New York City?

On December 21st, 2010, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a plan to overhaul the New York State juvenile justice system. The proposal calls for the closure of juvenile residential facilities operated by the State’s Office of Children and Family Services (“OCFS”) or the transfer of such facilities to the control of local counties. While the Mayor’s plan has received support from the City Council as well as from advocates and practitioners involved in the New York City juvenile justice system,  it is not clear how the proposal will be viewed in counties outside of New York City. Critics of the Mayor’s proposal argue that it fails to address the question of how counties will handle dangerous youths who have committed serious crimes such as assault, robbery, homicide and sex offenses.  … <Read More>